I’ve been lucky: I’ve never been affected by any kind of natural disaster or emergency while traveling (*knock on wood*). Even though I know random acts of god can happen at any time, I try my best to mitigate those occurrences by looking at weather patterns for that time of year, viewing travel alerts and warnings for various countries, etc.
Enter Hurricane Odile.
About a month ago I planned mini vacation for myself using various points and a couple of Hyatt free nights that are set to expire soon. When doing the research Cabo sounded like a great option for my much needed me time: warm weather, all inclusive, easy to get to for a short trip. Sold!
Alas, mother nature had other ideas. Hurricane Odile made landfall in Cabo San Lucas and the surrounding Baja Coast last Sunday and wreaked havoc in the area. Many of the main resorts were damaged, homes were destroyed, and countless people have been left without food, water or electricity. The Los Cabos airport was also severely damaged and is closed at least until Sept 23rd.
So what do you do when mother nature throws a monkey wrench in your plans?
- If you’re not actually there when things happen: be thankful. Vacations can always be rescheduled It’s always more important for you to be safe. Many people have been stranded in Cabo for nearly a week and are just starting to find their way out of the mayhem.
- If you have plans in the near future, call the hotel and find out details. Is the hotel closed? Are they accepting new reservations? From my experience they will be pretty open about the current situation. If the hotel is damaged and the operations have been severely affected, it may be worthwhile to postpone. Luckily Hyatt is cancelling reservations without any penalty and my free nights and points are being credited back to me.
- Look to see if travel warnings have been issued for your destination. This can be done on government websites (like the travel.state.gov site)
- You can also research to see if your airline has been disrupted. When I logged into Southwest there was a Cabo warning posted at the very top. Evidently the airport is severely damaged and flights in and out are being impacted. I was happy to see that Southwest offers you the ability to cancel easily which was nice and painless.
- Look on social media and the news. I was really debating if I should cancel and I posted on twitter regarding it. I had a response within a few hours describing the situation down there and that this particular family had just gotten out. The recommendation was to cancel. Various news outlets have also reported instances of looting in the area.
Overall, canceling the trip was a no-brainer in this case since the hotel has shut down and flights are suspended.
In other situations, it will probably not be this severe, so gauge your needs and desires and take a realistic look at what is happening in the area. Be safe and make sure you can get in (and out) of the area without a problem and that the area where you are staying has had little or no disruption.
What do you do when random acts of nature disrupt your travel plans?